‘Radical’ plan for integrated health and social care personal budgets unveiled by NHS chief

Integrated Personal Commissioning Programme will be piloted in England from April 2015

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens argued strongly for the increased investment (Photo: David Lynch/Rex)

People with complex care needs will be given the chance to control a merged NHS and social care personal budget to purchase support, under a new pilot scheme announced by NHS England.

The Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) programme will offer councils and local NHS services the chance to offer people a combined health and social care ‘endowment’ based on each individual’s assessed annual care needs. Local areas will be invited to bid to pilot the scheme in 2015-16.

People who take up the IPC option will decide how much personal control to take over commissioning services to meet their needs. Voluntary sector organisations will be commissioned locally to support people’s care planning and provide ‘brokerage’ and advocacy, NHS England said.

Addressing the Local Government Association’s annual conference, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “We need to stop treating people as a collection of health problems or treatments. We need to treat to them as individuals whose needs and preferences should be seen in the round and whose choices shape services, not the other way round.”

Integrated care event

Book your place at ‘Integrating health and social care: Bridging the gap to deliver Better Care’, an event taking place on 1st October 2014 in Central London.

NHS England said the ‘radical’ programme will be initially targeted at four groups: people with long-term conditions; children with complex needs; people with learning disabilities; and people with severe mental health problems..

Further details on the programme will be published by the end of July along with a formal invitation for expressions of interest. NHS England will provide technical support to develop projects and fund an independent evaluation of the pilots.

In a statement, Marjory Broughton and Clenton Farquharson, co-chairs of sector coalition Think Local Act Personal, said:

“People are the best integrators of their care and support and personal budgets can be a way to achieve this. For people with support needs and carers, the divisions between health and social care can feel artificial and have a negative impact on their experience.

“For people with complex needs, it is increasingly imperative that health and social care organisations work together to deliver a seamless, person-centred service. It is vital to unify health and social care and ensure it is directed by the individual.”

The NHS England announcement fits with proposed directives to councils on the potential integration of personal health and social care budgets that are included in draft regulations for the implementation of the Care Act.

In cases where a person receives separate health and social care direct payments, the regulations place a duty on local authorities to take ‘reasonable steps’ to coordinate their systems, processes and requirements with the NHS to minimise the administrative burden on the budget holder, the regulations state.

Guidance on implementing the Act states that local authorities should take steps to facilitate the integration of direct payments for social care with personal health budget direct payments as long as the budget holder and all parties agree. If agreed, monitoring could be performed solely by the local authority in order to avoid the budget holder having multiple accounts or duplicating the information they provide to public bodies.

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One Response to ‘Radical’ plan for integrated health and social care personal budgets unveiled by NHS chief

  1. Alan July 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Will make no odds in my area as the local council are closing the gap between health and social care by cutting back so much on social care there will be none left by the time they are finished. They are already refusing help and telling people to apply for personalised health budgets.